She thought it one of the most warm and welcoming churches she’d ever set foot in, but Lena still experienced a heaviness in her stomach. She was demonkind, supposedly not welcome here. Alex had lectured her about the strength of faith, that the trappings of religion were nothing without intent present in those who used them. She’d preached her own gospel time and again until the words were nearly burned in Lena’s brain.
“This crucifix can’t hurt you. This holy water can’t hurt you. They are only objects, nothing to be feared. I have faith my daughter is good. I cannot harm you with these baubles. And Lena, if you do not believe in their harm, they really are only baubles.”
There had to be truth in that. Through the years, Lena felt nothing more than slight discomfort touching such things. Yet she’d seen Alex destroy demi-demons with those same objects. Alex’s faith that she performed holy work made the icons destructive weapons that no demon could stand again. In her hands, the symbols of the Church won every battle that Alex waded into. Conviction was an unstoppable force, and Alex Williams Lasham wielded it like the Archangel Michael’s fiery sword.
Lena sat down in the backmost pew. Her temples ached fiercely. She bowed her head and closed her eyes to pray as she’d done countless times before, often without her parents’ knowledge.
She believed in God. One couldn’t face the reality of demons and not be a believer. Being one of the profane herself, Lena had more faith than many she knew who attended services regularly. She hoped the Almighty could forgive her condition since she’d had no control over it. Though she’d rejected the bloodbath of being a full-fledged member of the Segreto, Lena believed she’d conducted herself with basic decency. Surely she couldn’t be damned because of an accident of ancestry.
Dear God, I am not evil simply because my existence can be traced back to Lilith and the Fallen. You have to know this. I am as good as any human. In fact, I am kinder than many who have no demon blood in their veins. I don’t want to hurt anyone except those who would destroy us all. I don’t like feeding on misery. Tell me I’m more than the sum of my parts. Tell me I’m not doomed to hell for all eternity simply because I’m descended from those who do delight in the pain of others. I’m begging you for a sign. Something I can show my mother so she’ll see she has nothing to fear from me.
Lena had lost count of how many times she’d sent out that prayer. This time, as with all the others, she received no answer. Perhaps there would never be one, and Alex would go to her grave in agony because she’d brought one of demonkind into the world through her own womb. Lena didn’t like thinking such things, but she’d learned to live with the notion. Still, she couldn’t help but plead her case yet again.